There’s nothing modest about the Bishop neighborhood. The town lies within the nation’s deepest valley. To the south of Bishop is the highest peak in America’s contiguous 48 states, Mt. Whitney. And to the east, perched on exposed ridgelines above nine thousand feet in the White Mountains, you’ll find the oldest trees on earth. Some have grown for more than sixteen thousand consecutive seasons in extreme conditions of heat and light, cold and dark and wind and blowing snow. Sometimes, not too frequently, it even rains on Bristlecone pines and that’s the way my crew and I saw them a few years back. I loved the way their bark glistened beneath the moisture and I wished the trees could tell me their long life stories. They’ve survived the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Mayans and many other civilizations and they may well outlast us. Bristlecones are mute to our ears, but they do tell harrowing tales of survival in their etched wood and tortured shapes. They leave the rest to our imaginations.